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Healthy Diet Tips: 12 Eating Habits You Need To Break Now

Healthy Diet Tips: 12 Eating Habits You Need To Break Now

Sometimes, willpower, or a lack thereof, isn’t always the reason for putting on the pounds or overeating. Sometimes it can be little things that make a big difference and the worse thing is? You probably don’t know you’re doing these things as they’ve become habitual to your everyday routine and thought process. The silver lining? I’ll help you uncover some of these eating habits so that you can make necessary adjustments to your lifestyle if required.

1. Do Not Fear The Fat

How many times have you stared obsessively at the back packaging of a product and gasped at its fat content? Uh huh – you’re not alone. It is vital that you understand that not all fats are bad for you. There are lots of healthy fats, which can be found in foods like nuts, natural peanut butter, olives & avocados, which are essential to our everyday diet. There’s even fats that can boost metabolism which as we know burns off those calories! So when you feel peckish grab a couple of Walnuts.

2. The Night Time Nosh

Tiptoeing downstairs to grab a late night cheese sarnie? You should think again. Studies tend to show that when food is consumed late at night — anywhere from after dinner to outside a person’s typical sleep/wake cycle — the body is more likely to store those calories as fat and cause weight gain rather than burn it off as energy. A simple tip? I treat my kitchen like a restaurant and after I’ve had dinner I class the kitchen as ‘closed’ – although odd at first, stick with it – it does work. Oh, and brush your teeth, no one likes eating with a clean mouth.

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3. The Desk Munch

Multitasking and keeping your ‘work head’ on whilst gorging on food at your desk has been a proven reason for what many people class as ‘unexplained weight gain’. In other words, people underestimate what they have eaten by a whopping 30-50% whilst being focussed on work and not on what they’re shovelling into their mouths. So, if you’re a crazy multi-tasking butterfly at work, try to take a breather and a small break for lunch, it could save the waistline.

4. Slow down!

My Grandfather used to say that his parents made him chew between 30-50 times before swallowing and naturally I laughed it off without a second thought – and how wrong I was. Did you know it takes your stomach 20 minutes to realise that it’s actually full? So, inevitably if you are eating faster you will consume more of what is put in front of you. Try chewing between 10-20 times and putting your silverware down between bites.

5. The Diet Food Conundrum

We see it everywhere nowadays, diet drinks, low fat, zero fat, no calories, low calories – it’s a nutritional minefield. Companies use these terms to appeal to the health conscious markets, but just how healthy are these foods and drinks? Here’s an example – take a Crispy Chicken Caesar salad at McDonalds which is advertised as their ‘healthy option’ – yet in its dark depths packs an gut-busting 900-1000 calories per serving which makes it more calorific than a Big Mac!

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6. A Fist Of Meat Is What You Should Eat

Love those T-bone steak dinners? Me too – and don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you can’t have them. However, the quantity of meat is a very important factor that we tend to overlook when indulging. Meats, especially red meats, contain high fat contents and calorific values, so lump on more veg than meat and it’ll pay dividends to your waistline. As a guideline, try to keep the meat around the same size as your fist.

7. The Starvation-Mode Shopper

Studies have shown that going grocery shopping whilst hungry more or less always leads to poor food choices falling into your basked or un-necessary ‘on the fly gorging’ around the grocery store. Whenever you go food shopping make sure you’ve had something to tide you over beforehand – something healthy. You’ll find it much easier to resist the temptation – I promise.

8. Drinking Without Thinking

We’ve all been partial to some over-indulgence in our lives and it’s fine in moderation. However, it’s always good to keep track of calorific intake when it comes to alcohol as there’s normally some really well disguised nasties in there. For example, grabbing that shot of Sambuca with a friend after a hard days work packs a mighty 100 calories – gulp.

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9. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mouth

Research shows that the reason we gorge on junk food consistently is because it’s either easily within reach or it’s clearly visible, and normally if this is the case you’ll find those sugary, high fat treats calling your name in melodic tones. Put these types of foods away – out of sight out of mind. Quick fact for you – those that have sugary treats or high fat snacks in their eye-line are 83% more likely to consume more calories than those that put them away!

10. No Skipping Breakfast People!

I’m very guilty of skipping breakfast and it’s probably for the same reason you do – you’re in too much of a rush! However, it seems we’ve all truly underestimated as to how important breakfast actually is. Overnight, you are essentially fasting whilst asleep which means you’re metabolism has slowed right the way down and in order for that to get kick started again, breakfast is essential. Fun fact for you, people that eat breakfast are 91% more likely to lose weight than those that skip!

11. Water, Water, Water!

You may be watching calories, you may be exercising and you may be making every right food choice under sun, but if you’re lacking water, your results will suffer drastically. Not drinking enough water actually slows down your metabolism so anything that you do ingest whilst low on water will actually break down a lot slower than if you were fully hydrated. Keep your water levels up at all times and you’ll find this will bolster any weight loss efforts.

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12. Listen To Your Gut

We live in a world where we’ve all been essentially brought up to ‘clear our plates’ and ironically, that was to get a sticky treat after dinner. Start listening to your stomach throughout meals and it’ll tell you when it’s had enough – at that very point, place down your knife and fork – anything you eat after this moment on is quite possibly overkill.

I’m looking at YOU! How many of these could you relate to? If you’re guilty of quite a few try not to tackle them all at once as it will become overwhelming and you’ll just slot straight back into your old routine. Defeat each point one at a time and you’ll soon kick the habits that could very well be impeding any health or fitness goals you have this year.

Good Luck!

Featured photo credit: Brigham Young University via news.byu.edu

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Last Updated on August 13, 2020

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

2. What is the purpose of meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

Less Physical, More Psychological

Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

The First Benefit of Meditation

The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
  2. Relaxation of the body

Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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This benefit takes you to the second one.

The Second Benefit of Meditation

While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
  2. Observance
  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
  4. Patience

Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

1. Energy

Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

2. Observance

The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

3. Peacefulness

Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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4. Patience

The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

Final Thoughts

Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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